February Summary, March Preview

February. The shortest month of the year. The month you can really tell that the days are getting longer, but they’re still gray and a little bleak (at least, they are around here). We had plenty of much-needed snow and a little rain this month, and I was even treated to a snow day off from work, thanks to an early-morning snowstorm. So I have few complaints about the weather this month (for once), though the thunderstorm we had on Sunday evening frightened Mina into hiding in the closet for a few hours.

Otherwise, my month contained a lot of clerical goings-on: I did things like file taxes, completed a bunch of paperwork at work, filled out seemingly endless questionnaires for a routine medical check-up, and completed a bunch of other boring but necessary official tasks. So I’m hoping that March will be a little more exciting, as all that paperwork is complete. I’m looking forward to attending a local symphony concert featuring music from Star Wars. I’m going with an old friend and his daughter, both of whom love Star Wars. The next day, I’ll be headed over to their house to watch the Oscars with my friend’s wife (they’ve both been two of my best friends since we were in college), as we’ve done nearly every year since 2003. She enjoys seeing celebrities in their fashionable outfits, and I look forward to the technical categories. We always have Opinions about the winners, and it’s fun to watch the show together and talk about movies, even if the hosts aren’t very funny.

What I Read in February:

I finished twelve books in February and continued the trend of reading far more nonfiction than I usually do, thanks to a few selections that were relatively short and readily available through my local library. I didn’t read as much from my own shelves as I hoped to do, but that’s okay. There were some chunky books in there. According to The StoryGraph, I read 4,826 pages.

Statistically Speaking:

  • Half of what I read was written by men, 41.7% was written by women, and 8.3% was written by a non-binary author.
  • 66.7% was written by American authors, 25% was by English authors, and 8.3% was by a Canadian author.
  • 41.7% was nonfiction, 25% was fantasy, and 8.3% each was YA fantasy, poetry, mystery, and historical fiction.
  • 58.3% was from the library, 33.3% was from my own shelves, and 8.3% came from NetGalley.
  • Half of what I read were audiobooks, 33.3% were physical books, and 16.7% were ebooks.
  • Publication dates ranged from 1925 to 2023.

My favorite new-to-me books of February were Hell Bent, Heart of the Nile, and The Obsidian Tower.

I wasn’t so taken with Even Though I Knew the End.

StoryGraph TBR, February 1: 137
Physical TBR, February 1: 75

StoryGraph TBR, March 1: 139
Physical TBR, March 1: 72

What’s on Tap for March:

Once again, I have no idea! I haven’t set up a TBR for March at all, though I have a couple of plans in motion- namely to finally finish Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael mystery series, of which I have two books left to read (The Holy Thief and Brother Cadfael’s Penance). I’ll also be continuing my deep dive into medieval history thanks to the books I picked up at the used bookstore.

Continuing War and Peace is also on the agenda. I recently reached the 500-page mark, so I’m about a third of the way through. Slowly but surely I’ll get to the end, assuming the characters I’m continuing to love (like Andrey or Princess Marya) stop making cringe-worthy choices. I mean, I understand why they keep making these decisions, but I want to sit them down with a cup of tea or something and say, “Friend, I care about you, which is why I need you to stop making these bad choices”. When I started this book at the beginning of the year, I did not expect to be so invested in the goings-on of St. Petersburg’s society or want to throw wet pasta at the characters who are getting so chummy with Napoleon. But then, I know what’s coming for them in just a few years. They don’t have that advantage.

The other books I’m carrying over from February:

  • The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, audiobook narrated by Kyle McCarley
  • The Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe by Valerie I.J. Flint
  • The Throne of the Five Winds (Hostage of Empire #1) by S.C. Emmett

I was looking through my Libby TBR and simply couldn’t resist checking out The Goblin Emperor again. I love Maia’s journey from the neglected boy he was at the beginning of the book to the person he is by the end of it. I know all the story beats by heart now, but McCarley’s narration always makes those events feel unexpected and urgent throughout the story, no matter how many times I listen to it. I’m about halfway through it now, and I might just go ahead and reread the companion novels when I’m done.

The Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe is the academic history book I’ve slowly been making my way through. I’m doing about 10-15 pages at a time so I don’t forget everything I read, but it’s quite dense so I’m sure there is a lot that I’m missing, even at this pace. I plan to keep this one and use it as a reference for later writing projects.

The Throne of the Five Winds is one of the books I got for Christmas last year, and since I’m making an effort to get to those books before ages have passed, I decided to go ahead and start this one while I wait for the next book in Melissa Caruso’s Rooks and Ruin series to arrive. I’m barely into Throne of the Five Winds, though- perhaps fifteen pages- but the writing is lovely and the world is intriguing. I’m not sure how I’ll like the characters, though, as Emmett (a pen name for Lilith Saintcrow) has been keeping a narrative distance from them so far. It’s all down to their formality, I think. I’m hoping that, when the main characters have a chance to drop said formality, they’ll come alive more than they have so far. But I’ve only just begun, so things could change and I could get very invested in their lives. We’ll find out!

In other news, I’m continuing with my project to listen to all the twenty-first-century winners of the Academy Award for Best Original score. I’m a few weeks into it, and so far so good. I’ve listened to a lot of familiar music so far, but I know there are a bunch of scores that I’ve never heard before, and I’m excited to get to them. I’m hoping to find some new favorites.

Writing-wise, I think I’ve reached the final third section of the big fantasy story I’ve been working on since early 2022, and I’m anxious to get to the end. There is a light at the end of that tunnel, and once I’ve finished the current story and the (much shorter) epilogue, then I’ll have finished a project I’ve been working on off and on again for the past ten years. I’m hoping to start posting these final two stories before summer rolls around, so wish me luck! I have a small but growing flock of other works-in-progress that will want my attention before long, so I’ll have plenty to write after I’ve finished the big project. I’m excited about it all, and that’s such a fantastic feeling. There’s nothing like getting the creative bug back again.

7 thoughts on “February Summary, March Preview

  1. No, I don’t usually read so much by men. It’s usually more of a 65/35 women to men split. I think it was because I’ve read reading a lot of nonfiction lately, and the stuff that was readily available via Libby was by men. I’m on the waitlist for some nonfiction by women, though, so that ration will probably change in March

  2. I love the sound of the local symphony concert for Star Wars! That must be epic. I’ll also be tuning in, once again, as per tradition too, to the Oscars. I doubt it’ll be as eventful as the last one but I do look forward to seeing if my predictions will come true hahah Hope March will be a solid month for you! Stay safe! 😀

  3. Have you heard of Stars Books & Tea? We read all over the place too. I just read Traveling with Pomegrantes by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor. Joan of Arc was mentioned in that book.

  4. I’m sure the festivities will be a little calmer than last year’s! I saw so few movies last year that I don’t really have anything that I have picked to win, except the actors for Everything Everywhere All at Once.

  5. Based on several of your earlier reviews of the Brother Cadfael series I’d bought the entire series as ebooks and I’ve been meaning to start it ever since, but still haven’t. I seem to say that about many series. 🙂

    I’m very curious to hear more of your thoughts on The Throne of the Five Winds if you finish it. I’ve seen so few folks who’ve read it, soI’ll enjoy reading your opinions even if you don’t enjoy it. I hope to read the 3rd book in the series this year.

  6. I just finished the last Brother Cadfael book about an hour ago. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this series, and definitely recommend that you give it a shot. They’re not cozy mysteries, persay, and they’re very formulaic but they are a lot of fun thanks to charismatic characters like Brother Cadfael and other.

    I decided to set Throne of the Five Winds aside for now, because I have so many books going on at the moment. But I’ll go back to it as soon as I’m done with the Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe. I am definitely intrigued.

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